John Powell started his very successful racing career on ice in 1966, and in 1968 won the Quebec City Ice Race and received the winning trophy from Princess Grace of Monaco. John then successfully competed in Formula B in 1971 and 1972 and finished second in the 1973 Canadian Championship, one point behind Bill Brack. In 1974, John was offered the opportunity to run the Mosport Racing School. The condition of taking the job at Mosport in 1975 was that John quit racing. From 1975 on, John’s immense contributions as a builder in Canadian motorsport began.
While running the Mosport Racing School — which became the Powell Advanced Driving School in 1980 — John trained many notable drivers including Paul Tracy, Scott Goodyear, Jeff Gordon, Michael and Jeff Andretti, Tom Sneva, Rich Mears, and Penske racing members. John also trained hundreds of GM engineers in advanced driving techniques in Canada and the U.S. as well as working with the Federal Government to research and produce a driver training manual.
As for his other contributions to motorsports, John was instrumental in creating — and helping to create — some of the most significant racing series in Canada and the U.S., including the Canadian Tire F2000 Series and the Corvette Challenge Series. John worked closely with Corvette engineers to design the purpose-built Corvettes for the Corvette Challenge Series. John was also involved in Candian Karting and after building a karting track at Mosport, he organized and ran the first internationally approved CIK world championship karting event, a race that featured Danica Patrick and Nico Rosberg.